Buchet 1900-11 France
Well known French manufacturer in the period of proprietary engines, offered single and twin cylinder motorcycles in varying capacities. They also built three wheelers, early racing motorcycles, often with massive engines, and cars, from 1910-30.
Bucker 1922-55 Germany
Built large numbers of motorcycles pre-WWII using proprietary engines including JAP, Blackburne, MAG, and Cockerell. Production restarted after the war in 1948 with a range of top quality Ilo 123-247cc two-stroke engined lightweights. Manufacture ended in 1955 but models were on sale until 1958.
Bultaco 1958- Spain
When Montesa withdrew from motorcycle sport in 1958, co-founder Francisco Xavier Bulto felt the decision was wrong and resigned, as did a number of other top employees. With a little persuasion from other ex-Montesa staff, Bulto established Bultaco taking on many former colleagues. It was a bold move for a 46-year-old, but Francisco was a habitual late starter – he was 33 before he married, but still fathered 10 children.
Initial production was of a 125cc road machine, the Tralla – Spanish for whiplash – which, when stripped and tuned, formed the basis of the road racers. The 70mph 124cc Tralla 101 was soon joined by the 153cc Tralla 155. Blackburn motorcycle dealer Jim Anelay began importing Bultacos into the UK and in 1961 Dan Shorey – a leading two-stroke racer – signed for the Spanish company.
Restricted to riding Bultacos only, ‘Banbury Dan,’ who enjoyed winter trials, needed a mount for the winter of 1961-62. Bulto suggested he convert an existing 196cc Sherpa N trail machine. Motocross involvement with the Rickman Bros followed, who in turn recommended Sammy Miller as a development rider in the autumn of 1964. Taking just 12 days to develop the ‘new’ Bultaco Sherpa, Miller set off on a spree of victories including the first foreign machine to win the SSDT in 1965.
Sceptical British buyers believed Sam could win on anything and shunned the fragile looking Bultaco – until well known club trials rider, 40-year-old Reg May, borrowed Miller’s spare machine and immediately won the West of England Trial. The Spanish domination of the world’s trials scene began.
Neither trail or road machines were forgotten and the 244cc single cylinder two-stroke Metralla was a strong seller both in Spain and the USA. Road racing fortunes improved with TSS125 and 250cc machines. The factory gained its first world championship points in 1961, these going to Gibraltar-based Johnny Grace and Spaniard Roberto Quintanilla. Highlights of Bultaco’s racing involvement included Angel Nieto’s second place in the 1976 125cc GP table, followed by third in 1977, as well as Ginger Molloy’s fine 250cc 1967-69 performances. But it is the 50cc world championships, won by Angel Nieto and Riccardo Tormo for Bultaco, that many remember.
Despite road racing and continued off-road success with Pursang scramblers and Sherpa trials machines – including five world championship wins commencing with Martin Lampkin’s crown in 1975 – Bultaco’s fortunes dwindled. US clean air laws hampered two-stroke sales, and industrial action at the Barcelona factory halted production more than once. The company pulled out of top level trials competition in 1980 and production fizzled out in the mid-Eighties. A syndicate including Scorpa owner Marc Tessier and ex Gas-Gas engineer Andre Codina has bought the name from the Bulto family and production of the Bultaco Sherco (derived from Sherpa) has started again, but this time in France.
Busy Bee c1951-58 UK
Cycle attachment unit for home assembly by model engineers. Interesting concept but survivors are seldom seen at events except as static displays.
Cairns Mo-Cyc 1949-56 UK
A friction roller drive attachment with a 49cc two-stroke engine, which mounted over a cycle's front wheel built by The Cairns Cycle and Accessories Manufacturing Co of Stoneswood, Lancashire. Originally, the GYS Motomite (see GYS), then the Cairns Motomite and finally the Cairns Mo-Cyc. A pleasant hand-built attachment sought after by cyclemotor enthusiasts.
Calcott 1910-15 UK
Well known Coventry cycle maker who built light/medium weight motorcycles using their own 249/292cc engines as well as White and Poppe proprietary engines. They also built cars from 1914, production was taken over by Singer in 1926. A sizable handful of single speed Calcotts survive.
Calthorpe 1909-39 UK
Birmingham businessman, George Hands, built motorcycles under the Bard, Bard Cycle Manufacturing Company, Minstrel Cycle Company and Minstrel and Rea Cycle Company names, before moving into the powered transport business. Car production (1904-32) started with a 10hp four-cylinder model, and the Minstrel and Rea Cycle Co Ltd displayed their first 31⁄2hp White and Poppe engined Calthorpe motorcycle at the 1909 Stanley Show. A year later six models were displayed at the first Olympia Show in 1910 – V-twins, big singles a 211cc two-stroke and the Calthorpe Junior followed.
After WWI, production comprised 150cc upwards motorcycles using proprietary engines. Racing was never their forte, a 20th in the 1927 Junior TT being the company’s best Island result. In 1928 they unveiled their only model for the coming season, the ivory coloured 350cc twin port, ohv, single cylinder, sloping engine Ivory Calthorpe, costing just £47. Later 250 and 500cc versions came along but the company folded in 1938. Bruce Douglas of the Douglas Motorcycle family bought Calthorpe, moved it to Bristol and planned a range of Matchless powered models but WWII ended the idea. George Hands finished his working days running the Palace Hotel, Torquay.
Campion 1901-26 UK
Established Nottingham bicycle maker who began motorising cycles with Minerva kits in 1901. Later, they fitted Blackburne, Dalm, MMC, JAP Precision and Villiers proprietary engines in a range of 211cc singles to 1000cc V-twin motorcycles. They supplied frames or frame kits to other manufacturers and built New Gerrards for Jock Porter’s factory when demand exceeded supply after his IoM TT wins. Rare finds today.
Can-Am 1973-87 Canada
Company founded in 1937 by Joseph Armand Bombardier to build snowmobiles. In 1970, Bombardier considered building motorcycles for sale through their 4000 strong snowmobile dealer network. American Gary Robinson was hired to head a design team, which included former World Motocross champion Jeff Smith. A range of two-stroke off-roaders was unveiled in 1973, to which four-stroke Rotax engined models were added later. The British Army bought Can/Am machines but American clean air laws decimated sales of two-stroke motorcycles. After 1987, the factory turned out snowmobiles, boat and military motorcycle orders and undertook engine development in conjunction with Rotax.
Capriolo c1948-64 Italy
Count Giovanni Caproni’s former aircraft factory at Trento near Verona switched from aeroplane manufacture to motorcycles with a range of ultra attractive superb lightweights using their own ohv and ohc face cam engines or NSU two-stroke units. They also marketed an unusual 149cc flat twin and 75-150cc commercial three-wheelers. Capriolos were imported into the UK in small numbers from 1960-64, but more are arriving courtesy of the current Italian classic importers. Spares can be sourced from Italy and USA.
Caproni – Vizzola c1953-59 Italy
The best of both worlds perhaps – German engineering and Italian styling. A range of 173-247cc ohc and ohc singles, often with NSU engines. Mechanical spares can be sourced from German outlets but chassis parts are difficult.
Carabella 1964-1985 – Mexico
Produced a range of on/off-road 60-450cc two-stroke motorcycles, three-wheelers and minibikes. The factory was established using much European expertise and Minarelli components. Major markets include the USA and some Northern European countries. Spares, if you’re lucky, may be found in America. During the 1970s they built five-speed motocross machines and then a 60cc mini-racer which competed in a one model race series in Mexico. Yamaha took over Carabella in 1985.
Carfield 1919-24 UK
Small manufacturer who installed Villiers, Blackburne and Coventry Victor engines for a range of predominantly spring-framed machines. Survivors include two-stroke 147cc lightweights with two speed gearbox.
Carlton 1937-40 UK
Cycle maker who assembled Villiers 8D or 9D 122cc two-stroke lightweights with pressed steel front fork.
Carnielli 1931-75 Italy
Teodoro Carnielli began with 100cc Sachs engined Velomotors and later Rudge and JAP powered motorcycles. Then built mofas, mopeds, scooters and lightweight motorcycles using their own engines plus NSU and Victoria units. Last model was a 50cc Sachs engined folding mini-motorcycle called the Graziella. Also sold motorcycles as the Vittoria.
Casal 1964-90s Portugal
Averio, Portugal-built mopeds, lightweights, trials and motocross machines often with Japanese-type styling. Senor J Casal founded his factory in 1953 to manufacture agricultural and industrial proprietary engines. Motorcycle production started in 1964 with Zundapp and Sachs powered lightweights but Casal soon developed their own range of two-stroke engines. Went on to build water cooled 50cc road racing style machines and finally conventional mopeds.
Casalini 1958-63 Italy
Production started with the David mini scooter – the only scooter with a biblical name – after which Casalini made mopeds. Both used 48cc single cylinder two-stroke engines.
Cazenave 1955-c1962 France
The range comprised mopeds, lightweights and a selection of scooters. First scooters were the Belina and Super-Belina with VAP, Mistral or Ydral engines. In 1960, the Alpina with either Demm or Sachs engines were launched.